Agenda and minutes

City Region Board - Friday 7 June 2024 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Email: 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

Members of the Committee are invited to declare any pecuniary or personal interests relating to specific matters on the agenda.


Please see note (a) at the end of the agenda


There were no declarations of interest.


Chair's Introduction

To introduce the new City Region Board and welcome Members.


2.1      The Chair welcomed members to the first meeting of the City Region Board. He expressed his desire that the City Region Board would be a successful collaboration between Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) and the six District Councils.


2.2      The Chair also explained the reasoning behind the name ‘City Region Board.’ He explained that the term ‘City Region’ was used in Westminster to refer to areas larger than an individual city or town. Gloucestershire could be described as a city region or functional economic area because of its travel to work patterns. It was also explained that Gloucestershire’s largest urban areas were in the geographic centre of the county with important market towns in the outer area of the county. Therefore, it was deemed that the term ‘City Region’ fitted well with the landscape of Gloucestershire.  



City Region Board pdf icon PDF 74 KB

To give an overview of the City Region Board’s purpose and functions.



3.1 The Chair invited Gareth Edmundson, Cheltenham Borough Council’s Chief Executive, to give an overview of the purposes and functions of the City Region Board. He was supported by David Owen, GCC’s Director of Economy and Environment. 


3.2 Gareth Edmundson explained that the City Region Board had been created to provide a more streamlined governance structure, to reduce duplication and to provide a platform where potential devolution deals could be considered.


3.3 It was stated that the aim of the City Region Board was to develop and deliver a vision for future growth and economic success for the whole of the Gloucestershire economic area. It was explained that the Board would also be responsible for discharging the Strategic Economic Development Fund (SEDF).


3.4 A Member asked for an update on Gloucestershire’s devolution bids. The Officer confirmed that GCC had been in the process of applying for a Level Two Devolution Deal prior to the announcement of the 2024 General Election. Gloucestershire would now have to wait until after the election to see what kind of devolution deal might be available. 


3.5 A Member asked for clarification about whether economic growth would be measured alongside the county’s climate commitments. The Chair confirmed that economic growth did need to be assessed against its environmental implications. He suggested adding an item to the work plan to discuss the inclusion of the environment in Gloucestershire’s Economic Strategy.


ACTION – Democratic Services 



Governance Arrangements and Consultation on Scrutiny Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 146 KB

1)    To note the decision to include the City Region Board in the Gloucestershire County Council Constitution

2)     To consult the City Region Board on the new scrutiny terms of reference

Additional documents:


4.1 The Chair invited Rob Ayliffe, Director of Policy, Performance and Governance, to update the Board on the governance arrangements and to consult them on the new scrutiny terms of reference.


4.2 The Officer explained that the previous Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee’s terms of reference needed to be amended to align with the City Region Board’s portfolio. The Officer confirmed that after consultation, it had been suggested that the scrutiny committee’s name should change to the Economic Strategy Scrutiny Committee. 


4.3 The Officer confirmed that he had received feedback regarding the scrutiny terms of reference from the Forest of Dean District Council which he would feed back to the GCC’s Constitution Committee when presenting his report.  


4.4 A Member referred to the City Region Board’s Terms of Reference and highlighted that the City Region Board had not yet agreed to endorse the Gloucestershire Economic Strategy. She questioned whether the wording should change in the terms of reference. The Officer confirmed that the City Region Board’s Terms of Reference were lifted directly from the Inter-Authority Agreement which had been signed by all of Gloucestershire’s councils. He emphasised that the reference to the Economic Strategy was generic and could refer to whatever strategy was being implemented, so the wording did not need to be amended. 





Economic Dashboard (Overview of Economic Strategy Evidence Base) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive an overview of the Economic Dashboard and Economic Strategy Evidence Base.


5.1 The Chair invited Katherine Martin, Data, Analysis and Insights Manager (Communities and Place), to give an overview of the Economic Strategy Evidence Base.  


5.2 The presentation gave members an insight into Gloucestershire’s data and included an overview of information that was included in the more extensive Economic Strategy Evidence Base document. The presentation included information about: 


·           Population 

·           Employment and Skills 

·           Business and Enterprise 


5.3 A Member questioned what data was included about Gloucestershire’ well-being economy and net zero transition. The Officer confirmed there was less data to analyse for wellbeing and net zero transition, although the full evidence base contained information about demand for green jobs. However, it was stated that the Officer’s team were working with other authorities to ask the Office of National Statistics to provide better data on the green agenda.


5.4 When asked for further information on data about Gloucestershire’s health and wellbeing, it was explained that GCC used the Office for National Statistics’ Health and Wellbeing metrics and the Integrated Care Board’s health data. It was confirmed that the next update to the Board could include more regarding Health and Wellbeing.


ACTION – Katherine Martin 


5.5 A Member questioned whether providing more apprenticeships could increase the amount of young people staying in the county. It was confirmed that in theory this could help to improve the figure, but that there were other factors which affected why those aged 16-29 left the county such as young people wanting to explore other places. It was acknowledged that developing jobs in industries where there were currently gaps could help.


5.6 Responding to a Member’s question about how the business deaths statistics compared to other counties, it was confirmed that Gloucestershire’s statistics were not similar to the nearby counties but that the statistics were aligned with those counties who were similar in nature.  


5.7 Responding to a Member’s question, it was confirmed that the data for business’s births and deaths rates was not able to be used to identify specific business sectors. However, it was explained that from using data on the number of businesses per sector, it could be detected that the biggest decrease in businesses were in professional industries such as accountants and solicitors.



Gloucestershire Economic Strategy Overview and Action Plan pdf icon PDF 207 KB

To note the Gloucestershire Economic Strategy.

Additional documents:


6.1 The Chair invited David Owen and Ben Watts, GCC Team Manager for Economy and Strategic Planning, to give a presentation on the Gloucestershire Economic Strategy and Action Plan.  


6.2 The Presentation outlined the principles behind the strategy and the subsequent action plan. It was explained that the plan introduced a new 2050 vision to achieve a greener and more inclusive economy. The main strategic priorities were stated as: 


·                Sustainable Growth  

·                Inward Investment  

·                Employment and Skills 

·                Business Innovation and Support


6.3 It was explained that the Economic Strategy had been agreed by GCC’s Cabinet on the 15th of May, but it was hoped that the City Region Board would endorse the Economic Strategy as the City Region Board would be best placed to provide the strategic overview for many of the actions outlined in the document, but especially for the development of a county-wide Spatial Development Strategy.  


6.4 In response to a question, it was confirmed that the Economic Strategy was consistent with the Gloucestershire Statement of Common Ground (GSoCG) which had been agreed by each local authority. The GSoCG outlined several policy areas including transport.


6.5 Responding to a Member’s questions about regeneration, the Chair confirmed that he believed regeneration should be considered as part of any future Spatial Development Strategy for Gloucestershire.


6.6 The Chair suggested that the City Region Board should endorse the Economic Strategy. Several District Members confirmed that due to their recent elections, they needed more time to review the Economic Strategy. They asked that the decision to endorse the Economic Strategy be postponed until September’s City Region Board meeting. 


6.7 It was agreed to postpone the discussion of the Economic Strategy until September's meeting.


ACTION – Democratic Services 


6.8  David Owen and Ben Watts agreed to present the economic strategy to district councils if requested.




GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Integration to Gloucestershire County Council (GCC)

To receive a verbal update on the GFirst LEP’s integration into GCC.


7.1 The Chair invited David Owen to give a verbal update on the transition of GFirst LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) to GCC. The Officer confirmed that as of the 1st of April 2024, the LEP’s functions were transferred to GCC. He emphasised that all activities were running as usual except for the LEP Board which ended on the 31st of March 2024. It was explained that the new Economic Growth Board would replace the previous LEP Board and was currently recruiting for the Business Board Member position. 


7.2 It was explained that GCC had secured funding which replaced the original LEP core funding because GCC had been proactive in following the Government’s requirements that Local Authorities created an Economic Growth Board and an Economic Strategy. It was confirmed that Gloucestershire were ahead of many other counties in England with this transition.  



Strategic Economic Development Fund (SEDF) Process and Business Rate Pool Update pdf icon PDF 127 KB

1)    To note the Strategic Economic Development Fund (SEDF) Process

2)    To receive an update on the Business Rate Pool


8.1 The Chair invited Andrew Cummings, Stroud District Council’s Strategic Director of Resources and S151 Officer, to give an update on the Business Rate Pool.  


8.2    The Business Rate Pool had been in operation for ten years and was an agreed process where the surplus generated from business rates was reinvested back into Gloucestershire’s districts and GCC. The pool was distributed based on specific principles. 20% was placed in the Strategic Economic Development Fund, 20% was given to GCC, the remaining 60% was allocated to each of the districts.


8.3 The Board was updated on the Business Rate Pool’s position in 2023/2024 which saw a Total Pool Gain of £4.086 million. The estimated 2024/2025 Pool Position which was expected to see continued growth.


8.4 A Member questioned what should be done with the unspent but allocated SEDF funding. It was suggested that the Senior Officer Group would look into this and would provide suggestions to the City Region Board on what could be done with the unspent but allocated funding.


ACTION – David Owen/Senior Officer Group 


8.5 The Chair invited Gareth Edmundson to give an update on the SEDF Process. It was explained that previously the SEDF funding had been allocated to bids on a ‘piecemeal’ basis. However, it had been decided at the last meeting of the Economic Growth Joint Committee that this should be changed to allow the Senior Officer Group to consider more bids at once to create a more strategic funding allocation process. This would make sure that the bids that were successful would be more closely aligned with Gloucestershire’s Economic Strategy.


8.6 Responding to a Member’s question about how the SEDF would be promoted, it was explained that each of the districts were responsible for promoting the fund within their own networks as each of the organisations would need a District to sponsor their SEDF bid. 




Work Plan pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To review the committee work plan and suggest items for consideration at future meetings.


9.1 It was requested that an item on the Local Skills Improvement Plan be added to either September or November’s work plan.


ACTION – Democratic Services 


9.2 It was requested that September’s meeting should include an update on whether there had been any changes in policy following the General Election in July.


ACTION – Democratic Services 


9.3 The Chair requested that an item be added to September’s work plan on the work emerging from Infrastructure Planning Group.


ACTION – Democratic Services 


9.4 A Member suggested an item on Stroud District Council’s Community Wealth Building be added to November’s work plan.


ACTION – Democratic Services